With a dramatically flowing mane, theFriesian horse's agility and gracefulness seem to contrast with its draft horse size and scale. Almost always found in black, Friesians originated in a province of the Netherlands. These horses have gorgeous, eye-catching good looks and are a favorite breed for pulling carriages and buggies. Many owners ofFriesiansalso use them for dressage events.
Scientific & Common Names
Genus & Species - Equus ferus caballus
Common Names - Friesian, Belgian Black, Belgian Heavy Horse
RegisteredFriesian horsesare always black, although there are some non-registered specimens that are black-bay and dark brown. Some Friesian horses have white stars on their foreheads, but no further white coloration is permitted for registered horses. Friesian stallions must be at least 15.3 hands in height by the age of 4 to enter the Friesian stud book, and they weigh on average about 1,300 pounds. One distinctive quality of a Friesian horse is their arched topline. These horses also have expressive heads and unusually small ears.
As with most horses, Friesian stallions are usually ready for breeding around the age of 2, but most owners wait until their stallions are 4 years of age to allow them to breed mares.
Friesian stallionsare known for their friendly dispositions and even temperaments. These horses are intelligent and eager to please their owners. Friesians are popular because they are extremely versatile, being commonly used for dressage, trail riding, and pulling carriages.
The Friesian horse is one of Europe's oldest horse breeds. It originated in Friesian, a province of the Netherlands. The Normans rode Friesians in medieval times, and when European knights in heavy armor needed a sturdy, powerful, dependable mount, they often chose Friesians. These horses made it all the way to the Middle East during the Crusades. Friesians have faced extinction several times in their long history, but dedicated breeders stepped up to save these regal mounts. After World War II, fuel shortages in Europe prompted farmers and teamsters to once again rely on Friesians for farm work and hauling. Currently, Friesians are not often used for these strenuous tasks. Instead, they are used commonly as carriage horses, and they are excellent for dressage.
Currently the Dutch Friesian Registry contains around 45,000 horses, and about 8,000 of those horses live in the United States of America.